54-Year-Old Mother Wants Another Child

December 1st, 2023

Despite pushback from the rest of the family

unhappy daughter and mother, image by Monkey Business Images. Article: 54-Year-Old Mother Wants Another Child

A teenager is distraught that her 54-year-old mother wants another child, despite opposition from her father and both offspring. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson has to say.

Dear Amy:

At 54, my mother, already blessed with two academically accomplished children in the eighth and 12th grades, says she wants to have a third child.

I am nearly 18 years old and will leave for college next year.

My father, who is 57, is adamant that he doesn’t want another baby. He is a middle-school teacher and could retire within a few years. The idea of raising another child weighs heavily on him, having managed students his whole life.

Plus – would a 12-year-old want a father in his 70s?

Nobody except my mother wants another child. To accomplish this without enduring another pregnancy, she’s exploring surrogacy. She says she is encouraged by medical professionals who believe her fertility levels can produce a baby.

I’m also concerned about my mom’s demanding work schedule. She works extremely long hours, and yet still wants to add another child to our family.

Am I selfish in questioning the allocation of resources, as my mother contemplates funding a new life while lamenting her inability to pay tuition for a private college?

Is it OK for my mother to divide our family, considering no one’s wishes except her own?

– Anonymous

Dear Anonymous:

Having a child through surrogacy is extremely expensive – especially if your mother expects to do so through having fertility treatments and contributing her own eggs for the surrogate’s pregnancy.

My understanding is that the chance of producing viable eggs at her age is extremely low. And would your father be expected to contribute his DNA to this process? If so, he has opportunities to refuse to do so. He should consider having a vasectomy to guarantee that he will not father more children.

Your mother has the right to make choices about her own body, but no – she does not have the right to bring a baby into the family against your father’s wishes. (However, to address your hypothetical, in my opinion, 12-year-olds do tend to love their parents, regardless of how old their folks are.)

Therapy is the ideal place for your parents to discuss this challenging issue.

Gauging this issue only on the basis of “allocation of resources” is selfish (for lack of a different word), but this perspective reveals that – academically advanced as you are – you are still a teenager, with a teenager’s tendency to put your own interests at the forefront. This is an appropriate perspective for you to have, but it is not one you should automatically expect the rest of the family to share.

Additionally, your parents do not owe you tuition for a private college. You should do some research to identify ways to lower the cost of your post-secondary education – through academic scholarships and/or challenging but less expensive schools.

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from when an older mother wants another child to dark family secrets and DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

©2023 by Amy Dickinson

More from Boomer